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Diabetics can cut cancer risk with insulin jabs

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)


Hong Kong (dpa) - Diabetics can cut their risk of contracting cancer by 80 per cent by controlling their blood-sugar levels with insulin treatment, a study by Hong Kong scientists has found.

The five-year research project by the city's Chinese University found that failure to maintain near-normal blood-sugar levels significantly increases the risk of cancer.

More than 2,000 diabetes patients, some using insulin to control their blood-sugar levels and some not, were monitored in the study. It found that in a group of 100 patients using no insulin treatment, five diabetes sufferers a year developed cancer. Among patients using insulin, only one out of 100 a year developed cancer.

"After adjusting all the risk factors and concurrent medications, patients treated with insulin had up to an 80 per cent risk reduction in developing cancer compared to those with no insulin treatment," the study concluded.

Professor Ronald Ma, who headed the research project, said: "Our findings suggest that not only do people with diabetes have a higher risk of cancer (but) poor glycaemic control in diabetic patients also increases cancer risk.

"Our results strongly suggest that, by improving glycaemic control, including the early use of insulin, the risk of cancer can be substantially reduced in these subjects."

Rates of diabetes in Hong Kong and China have risen significantly in recent years, in part because of changing diets and an increase in consumption of fast food.

A national survey in China recently found that one in four people there have diabetes or are at risk of contracting diabetes. An estimated one in 10 Hong Kong people have diabetes.

Diabetes sufferers are generally prone to contracting cancer of the liver and intestine, previous studies have found.

Copyright 2010 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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